International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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from IVU News 2001

Rome, Italy, May 28 [2002] - An international coalition promoting plant-based solutions to world hunger proposed sweeping reforms to delegates to the Food and Agriculture Organization meeting on world food security in Rome. The purpose of the meeting was to repair a flawed process that was supposed to reduce the number of chronically hungry people in the world by half by the year 2015.

The coalition's position paper makes several creative points to clear the impasse:

A key root cause of world hunger, aside from natural disasters, pests, and wars, has been the insistence first by colonial powers and now by corporate interests on production of cash crops for export, in place of sufficient nutritious, safe, and accessible food for the local population.

International trade can not solve world hunger because it shifts limited agricultural resources to production of cash crops for export, and people who don't have access to food and other basic necessities of life have nothing to trade.

Westem meat industries, facing public awareness of the health impacts and strict environmental regulations at home, seek to exploit the natural resources, cheap labor, and potential markets of low-income food-deficient nations (LIFDNs).

The definition of food security as the sustainable availability of sufficient amounts of nutritious, safe, and accessible foodstuffs leads inevitably to the choice of plant-based solutions and the avoidance of animal-based solutions.

Affluent nations should act upon their moral obligation to provide the resources necessary to transport and distribute western food surpluses to the world's hungry people and to help set up sustainable production of sufficient nutritious, safe, and accessible locally grown plant-based foods. They should reduce their own dependence on animal-based diets to release foodstuffs for the hungry.

LIFDNs should scrutinize carefully all offers of resources to make sure that these truly meet their needs, rather than those of western corporate interests. They should insist on building up sustainable production of sufficient nutritious, safe, and accessible locally grown plant-based foods.

In addition to distributing the position paper to the delegates, coalition activists also handed out leaflets at the FAO Rome headquarters. Additional actions are planned in connection with the World Food Summit to be held in Rome in November.

Members of the coalition include FARM , a U.S. non-profit organization which has promoted sustainable, humane farming practices since 1976, and two Italian groups, Societa Vegetariana (Milan) and Progetto Vivere Vegan (Florence).